If you’re looking to grow your exports to the United States, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) could be a big source of opportunity — even if your business isn’t directly involved in the defence sector.
Every year, the U.S. DoD buys massive volumes of non-military goods such as food, medical equipment and construction supplies. In 2018, it spent basically the gross domestic product of Norway on contractors — $365 billion — and bought $2.6 billion in products and services from Canadian firms.
While many of those Canadian sales were in defence-adjacent areas such as navigation and nautical systems, aircraft parts and chartered passenger flights, they also included exports of pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment, travelling cranes, hoists and monorails, fabricated metals and surgical instruments.
A buyer of virtually everything
The scope and breadth of U.S. DoD demand stems from the fact that it is hands-down the largest department of the U.S. federal government. It maintains 1.3 million active-duty service members and 750,000 civilian personnel. It’s one of the largest holders of real estate in the world, with a global portfolio of more than 568,000 buildings and structures across nearly 4,800 sites in 160 countries. Its total inventory contains more than five million items.
As a result, the Department has nearly continuous needs for everything from footwear, fasteners and office furniture to software publishing technology and environmental consulting services. It has also demonstrated a growing appetite for artificial intelligence, biotechnology and 5G communications solutions. The Department’s Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program provides a quick and efficient way to test technologies against the U.S. military’s emerging technical requirements.
How to become a U.S. DoD supplier
If you’re thinking all this sounds promising but aren’t sure how to access the opportunity, here’s some good news: Canadian companies are well positioned to sell into the U.S. DoD because our two countries have a longstanding agreement called the Canada–U.S. Defence Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA), which gives Canadian firms direct access to the U.S. DoD procurement market.
Of course, the size and sensitivity of the U.S. defense market does come with some complexity. Understanding the mix of regulations and processes that are used to manage DoD procurement can be difficult. That’s where CCC can help. Since 1956, we’ve served as prime contractor for all U.S. defence purchases over USD $250,000 — and we have deep knowledge of what’s involved to get deals done.
Our next post in this series takes a closer look at that procurement process and how Canadian non-defence companies can identify their strongest opportunities to sell to the U.S. DoD.
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